Warning: The following contains spoilers for The summer I got pretty Season 1. Proceed at your own risk!
Apparently, for Isabel “Belly” Conklin, summer is the season of confusing emotions.
The summer I got pretty‘s finale began with Belly explaining to her brother Steven that she’s decided to be with her easygoing boyfriend Jeremiah. But after his brother Conrad stepped in when Jeremiah went MIA during Belly’s ball dance debut, it seemed like Belly’s feelings about her brooding first love/infatuation were resurfacing. However, Jere had a good excuse for his absence: he had just found out that his and Conrad’s mother were dying of cancer. Belly and a relieved Conrad meet up on the beach after Jeremiah persuaded his mother to try medical treatment, even though her chances of survival are slim.
“I don’t just need someone. I need she‘ Conrad explained. When Belly replied that not only does she want him to need her, but she wants him to do it want her, he assured her he would and the two kissed. But just a day ago, Belly seemed determined to explore a relationship with Jeremiah.
“I think there’s a little bit of their heart in both of them,” star Lola Tung, who plays Belly, tells TVLine. “The story is definitely not over and it hasn’t made a final decision in any way. I think she really loves these two boys. At this very moment [in] In the final scene, she’s there with Conrad, and that’s what’s happening right now, but it’s definitely not the end of the story.” (Indeed, the series received an early season two renewal last week.)
Adds co-showrunner Jenny Han, who wrote the books the show is based on, “For me, this moment is the only thing [Belly] wanted forever, and then how do you say no to it in this moment? It’s really almost like time stops for a minute and you just have to live with it.”
Since both boys are still in the mix for Belly’s heart, we asked their performers to make their case as to why each of them is the right man for them. “[Conrad] is a protector,” says actor Christopher Briney. “He’ll fight for you, he’ll challenge you, and those are all very important qualities when you’re with someone. A healthy amount of constructive blocks, things to build on together, I think that’s his strongest element.”
As for Belly’s sidekick Jeremiah, “he just has such a loving and caring personality,” shares cast member Gavin Casalegno. “Obviously deep down he lacks confidence and is insecure and doesn’t want to overdo it and I think that just makes him care so much more about Belly and who she is. And personally in my life I would fall for that, and just that best friendship you would have.
While both the finale and the first book ended with a feeling that something was beginning between Belly and Conrad, the novel ended with a more vague scene for the couple, with Conrad visiting Belly’s home in the winter, rather than continuing a kiss. Han also shuffled around the book trilogy’s timeline, postponing Belly and Jeremiah’s first hickey from the second novel It’s not summer without you for the fifth episode of this season.
In adapting her books for the screen, “I definitely felt like I wanted to move up a little earlier in the love triangle,” Han explains. “You never know if you’re going to get more than one season of something, so I wanted it to feel really complete. If we only had one, we would only have one, but people would understand what the heart of the story is and who the love story is about.”
Han was also excited to translate a certain Belly and Conrad moment from the first book into the first episode. “It was very important to me to get that [scene] right when they’re in the car and he’s touching her hair,” she reveals, noting that “as a teenager, sometimes your only privacy is in the car.”
Tung is also a fan of the scene because “it feels like everything else outside of the car doesn’t matter at that moment and it’s just them,” says the actress. “I really think that moment was so special … It’s such a simple thing, but it’s such a big moment for both of these characters.”
Han adds, “It’s very vulnerable to both of them [of them].”
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